UNC star Armando Bacot says he was a 'die hard' Duke basketball fan growing up

One of the biggest rivals of the Blue Devils admitted he was a major supporter of the program as a child
Mar 5, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; UNC basketball star Armando Bacot celebrates against the Duke basketball team in Cameron Indoor Stadium
Mar 5, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; UNC basketball star Armando Bacot celebrates against the Duke basketball team in Cameron Indoor Stadium / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The stories that emerge from the Duke basketball rivalry with the North Carolina Tar Heels never cease to amaze the two fan bases.

Just months after Armando Bacot's career ends in Chapel Hill and he is preparing for the NBA Summer League, where he will be teammates with Blue Devil forward Kyle Filipowski, the Tar Heel star admitted he was the biggest Duke basketball fan growing up.

"I grew up a Duke fan," he said on a recent episode of Run Your Race, a podcast hosted by former UNC wing Theo Pinson, who also admitted he grew up a fan of the Blue Devils.

"Committing to Carolina for me was crazy," Bacot explained.

Despite his apprehension, he shined in Chapel Hill playing five years for the Tar Heels and averaging 13.9 points and 10.1 rebounds for his career while being named as a two-time Third Team All-American and two-time First Team All-ACC selection.

Bacot explained that he went to Duke basketball camps as a child and idolized Jahlil Okafor, a 2015 National Champion and No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft, as well as Jabari Parker.

"I would never admit it, but I'll admit it now," he joked. "I'm not in college now."

"I grew up a Duke fan. Hated Carolina."

The Blue Devils took Vernon Carey Jr. in the 2019 recruiting class, who was ranked No. 6 in the country compared to Bacot at No. 27. The Virginia native said that the two were very good friends throughout high school.

Carey Jr. entered the NBA Draft after one season in Durham and was the No. 32 overall pick.

Bacot explained that he was difficult for him "rocking with Carolina" because of his past allegiance to Duke.

"I was a die-hard Duke fan, so I HATED Carolina. [UNC fans] are going to tear me up for this."

Bacot finished with a 6-5 record against Duke in his college career, including a victory in the only matchup between the two schools in the 2021 Final Four. The Tar Heels would lose the National Championship to Kansas that season, blowing a 15-point halftime lead, which was the largest in championship history.

"I just went to Carolina. It was crazy because I hated Carolina."

Theo Pinson explained that he was in the Dean Smith Center for Austin Rivers' buzzer beater against North Carolina and he was celebrating the Duke victory despite getting recruited by the Tar Heels.

Bacot ended the segment on the podcast saying he "still doesn't have that big of a problem with [Duke]."

It certainly ends a wild chapter of the Duke and North Carolina rivalry with a twist as the two iconic programs prepare for another season of basketball which have high expectations on Tobacco Road.